Restaurant 1833 (formerly Stokes Restaurant & Bar) 500 Hartnell St. One of the oldest buildings in Monterey, the historic 1833 Stokes Adobe was originally a single room with a traditional red-tile roof. Tiles were hand-shaped by workers who pressed lengths of thick, moist adobe around their upper thighs. Seven more adobe rooms and a second floor were added in 1844. (You can see some of the original adobe wall opposite the restrooms.) Now it is updated with a comfortable, airy, and stylish interior. You can have a drink at the backlit white onyx bar and choose from seven different dining areas, including The Library (which was the original adobe room) and a front-yard patio with four fire pits. Menu choices include a fixed-price extravaganza. Truffle chicken—a signature dish that takes one hour to prepare-- is brought to the table whole in its frying pan to be admired before it is returned to the kitchen for plating. Items on the fixed price menu ($65/person) might include a crispy hen egg (this busy egg is deep-fried and features a yolk that runs out when you pierce it), soft pillows of gnocchi accented with crispy-crunchy croutons, and perhaps a too-delicious butterscotchy bourbon pudding. Drinks include creative cocktails and several cellars full of wine. After dessert, the absinthe cart—with 15-plus choices, it is said to be the largest selection in the United States--can be rolled tableside for you to select either the traditional way (with ice and a sugar cube) or the Russian way (igniting and inhaling the fumes). Either way, it is quite a show and a spectacular conclusion to an exceptional meal. Playful touches include presenting the check inside an antique math book which many diners feel compelled to sign. It’s fun to know that this is where the Rat Pack ate when the restaurant was Gallatin’s and that they live on in the mellow music system.
More things to do in Monterey.
video c2012 Carole Terwilliger Meyers